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A padayatra (Sanskrit: पदयात्रा, romanizedpādayātrā, lit.'journey by foot') is a journey undertaken by politicians or prominent citizens to interact more closely with different parts of society, educate about issues concerning them, and galvanize his or her supporters. Padayatras or foot pilgrimages are also Hindu religious pilgrimages undertaken towards sacred shrines or pilgrimage sites.[1]

Social causes[edit]

Gandhi on the Salt March, 1930

Mahatma Gandhi originated the padayatra with his famous Salt March to Dandi in 1930. In the winter of 1933–34, Gandhi went on a countrywide padayatra against untouchability.[2] Later, Gandhian Vinoba Bhave also started a padayatra, which was part of his Bhoodan movement in 1951. Starting from the Telangana region, Bhave concluded his padayatra at Bodh Gaya.[3] On 6 January 1983, Chandra Shekhar started his padayatra from Kanyakumari and continued his 4,260 kilometres (2,650 mi) journey to Raj Ghat in Delhi till 25 June 1983 to understand the problems of the masses.[4]

Puthan Veetil Rajagopal, in Janadesh 2007, led 25,000 landless peasants on a 28-day march from Gwalior to Delhi.[5] In 1986, Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh started padayatras through villages of Rajasthan, promoting construction and revival of johads and check dams.[6]

Political purpose[edit]

Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy did a three-month-long padayatra covering 1,500 km (930 mi) in 60 days, meeting people across 11 districts of Andhra Pradesh. He led his party to victory in the following general elections held in 2004 to become the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, which included Telangana also.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

The YSRCP chief Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy launched his Padayatra named ‘Praja Sankalpa Yatra’ at RK Valley in his native Kadapa district after paying homage at the grave of his father. YSR Congress party coined a slogan “Raavali Jagan, Kaavali Jagan” (Jagan should come. We want Jagan) for the foot march that took to him across 125 Assembly segments in 13 districts of the state in 430 days. This Yatra was started on November 6, 2017 and ended on January 9, 2019.[citation needed]

The Indian National Congress, under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, started Bharat Jodo Yatra, a padyatra on September 7, 2022 in Kanniyakumari at the tip of the Indian peninsula. This foot march will cover about 3,570 km in around five months. It will move across 12 States and two Union Territories, and shall end in Kashmir. [17]

Religious causes[edit]

The warkaris from the Maharashtra state of western India practice a regular walk to religious places like Dehu, Alandi and Pandharpur. Ashadhi Ekadashi , Kartiki Ekadashi, Maghi Ekadashi and Chaitra Ekadashi are some of the popular days when pilgrims reach Pandharpur to worship Vithoba.[18] The kanwariyas practice a regular walk to religious places like Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Kedarnath Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Vaidyanath Temple, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Amarnath Temple etc. Maha Shivaratri and Kanwar Yatra are some of the popular days when pilgrims reach the temples to worship Shiva.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of Padyatra Archived 2012-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Ramachandra Guha (8 November 2005). "Where Gandhi Meets Ambedkar". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012.
  3. ^ David R. Syiemlieh (2005). Reflections From Shillong: Speeches Of M.M. Jacob. Daya Books. p. 135. ISBN 8189233297. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. ^ Manisha (2010). Profiles of Indian Prime Ministers. Mittal Publications. pp. xxi. ISBN 978-8170999768. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  5. ^ Laxmi Prasanna (28 July 2017). "Activist PV Rajagopal to constitute taskforce in Kerala to ensure land for landless | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  6. ^ "The water man of Rajasthan". Frontline, Volume 18 - Issue 17. 18–31 August 2001.
  7. ^ Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Andhra Pradesh. "Farmers benefited by schemes of YSR – AP Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan" (PDF). Raj Bhavan, Andhra Pradesh.
  8. ^ YSR Congress Party, YSR Congress Party. "17 Years For YSR Padayatra". YSR Congress Party.
  9. ^ The Times of India, The Times of India. "YSR's padayatra to begin on April 9". The Times of India.
  10. ^ The Hindu, The Hindu. "Vijayamma set to begin new innings". The Hindu.
  11. ^ India Today, India Today. "Defiant Jagan 'pained' by aide's suspension". India Today.
  12. ^ Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times. "YSRTP chief Sharmila announces padayatra from October 20". Hindustan Times.
  13. ^ The New Indian Express, The New Indian Express. "64-day Praja Prasthanam made him a mass leader". The New Indian Express.
  14. ^ News18, News18. "Ahead of Andhra Polls, TDP Leader Nara Lokesh Launches 4,000 Km Padayatra". News18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ The Print, The Print. "Why power of padayatra is fading in Telugu politics from YSR's days of 'charm & showmanship'". The Print.
  16. ^ Sakshi Post, Sakshi Post. "YSR Padayatra: 'Rajanna' Made His Big, Monumental First Step This Day 17 Years Ago!". Sakshi Post.
  17. ^ "Discovery of Congress: On Bharat Jodo Yatra". The Hindu. 8 September 2022.
  18. ^ Asghar Ali Engineer (2008). Sufism and Inter-Religious Understanding. Pinnacle Technology. ISBN 978-1618201683. Retrieved 9 May 2014.